Vietnam. In January, ten US manufacturers of the environmentally toxic agent orange were sued by a group of Vietnamese at a US court. Agent Orange was used by the US military during the Vietnam War. About 3 million people say they have had serious health problems, including cancer, from the decoction.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Vietnam is 97,338,590 people in 2020. The infamous Vietnamese mafia leader Truong Văn Cam, aka Nam Cam, was arched in June along with four buddies. Nam Cam was sentenced a year earlier to death for, among other things. murder, bribery and illegal gambling. Reports of inclinations against dissent continued to come during the year.
In May, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch reported that a number of leaders of a Christian ethnic minority, called the Montagnards, had been seized in central Vietnam, as were Montagnards with relatives in the United States and farmers who donated food to Montagnards on the run. Nine of them were later sentenced to prison terms. The Montagnards held several demonstrations during the year against religious repression and against their land being confiscated by the state.
Resistance to the colonial regime
Just as the Vietnamese in their day had fought against the Chinese dominion of the country, they also fought against the French colonial power. The French influence was strongest in the fragmented and not particularly homogeneous South Vietnam, but opposition to the French also prevailed there. A series of rebellions took place, and the rebellion in North Vietnam was first wiped out in 1897. These rebellions were predominantly led by the old class of officials – the Mandarins – who wanted to get the French out of order to restore old society.
After the turn of the century, a new nationalist movement emerged, which was positively oriented towards Western ideas, science and technology. This movement was first inspired by Japanese development, similar to the Chinese national movement around the turn of the century. After the fall of the Chinese Empire in 1912, China became the most important source of inspiration.
After the First World War, a movement emerged seeking concessions by partnering with France, and in South Vietnam the French gave permission for the establishment of a political party. A similar permit was not granted in the North. The difference between North and South Vietnam emerged again. But this political movement failed. The French refused to grant concessions, and in 1930 new riots broke out.
Already through the 1920s several political organizations had emerged. In 1925, Ho Chi Minh had formed the revolutionary Vietnamese youth movement that quickly became the most important among the illegal resistance groups. In 1929, in several parts of the country, Marxist-Leninist parties were formed, which the following year were assembled in Indochina’s Communist Party by Nguyen Ai Quoc, who later adopted the name Ho Chi Minh. Later the party decided that it would be more efficient to divide into three parts respectively. Kampuchea, Laos and Vietnam. The latter assumed the name Labor Party. It was not until its 4th congress in 1976 that it adopted the name of the Communist Party of Vietnam (VKP).
In 1930, as I said, an extensive peasant revolt led by the Communist Party broke out. A number of landowners were killed, and several “Soviet areas” were created in several places. We see here a parallel to the corresponding development in China at the same time. It took the French over a year to suppress this revolt. When Leon Blum formed his people’s front government in France in 1936, some liberalization occurred in France’s colonial policy in Vietnam, but after the fall of the Blum government in 1937, repression began again.
In the 1930s, not least because of the work of Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap, the Communist Party had built up a network of communist groups in most of the country, and the Communist Party emerged as the dominant leader of the liberation movement. The Communist movement stood strongest in North Vietnam. For historical reasons, the impact was not so great in South Vietnam. In this part, there was strong growth during the interwar period in the Buddhist-political and patriotic sects Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, which attracted up to a million followers.
The events of World War II were crucial to the further development of Vietnam. By 1942, Japan had occupied all of Indochina, but the French administration was allowed to continue. It was not until March 1945 that the Japanese abandoned the French administration and took full control of the country.
In 1941, Ho Chi Minh brought together the various national movements in a common front under the name Viet Minh. Chiang Kai-shek sought from China to create a countermovement, but this failed completely. Viet Minh organized the guerrilla fight against Japan, gathered information on the Japanese military dispositions and organized the rescue of downed North American pilots. With his fight against the Japanese occupation and his radical program, Viet Minh managed to fuse the strong nationalist currents of the Vietnamese people and the radical reform movement, giving them a socialist content.